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Archive for the ‘Yoga’ Category

I’ve been bothered by something that has been buzzing online and in the media.  There is a video that went viral recently showing a woman named Lena Fokina swinging around an infant and calling it “baby yoga.”  I’ve been seeing it all week and debating whether or not to post it here. I have decided that I’m not going to post the video here, because I think it is disturbing, but I’d like to invite discussion about it. The photo above is one of the least disturbing images.  Initially, there was some question as to whether or not it was real or fake.  Apparently, it has been determined to be genuine.  TIME magazine’s blog posted the video in its entirety and you can watch it there.  You can read an interview with Lena over at DadWagon. Lena’s argument is that her practice strengthens the bodies of the infants and makes them more courageous…?

Check it out and decide what you think.  If you watch it, post your comments here.  Let me know what you think.

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In the February issue of Shape magazine, cover girl (and Victoria’s Secret supermodel) Marissa Miller shares her secrets for a “hot bod”.  And they apparently do not include yoga.

Miller tells the magazine she prefers high intensity workouts as opposed to yoga and pilates:

“I go to a down-and-dirty boxing gym,” says Miller. “I don’t want to worry about how I look or whether I’m wearing the perfect outfit. For me, it’s about focusing. I’ve tried Pilates and yoga, but they’re a little too meditative for me. I need to really go for it, and do it hard!” Marisa said. “For me, it’s about focusing for an hour and a half on my work out.”

Thought I’d throw this up because I usually here about the latest celebrity who swears by yoga.  This was a nice change of pace. Otherwise…Marissa, let us know when your boxing routine renders your shoulders so tight that you’re unable to reach behind your back and pull your Vicky’s Secret thong underwear out of your ass crack.

 

 

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From today’s edition of Barron’s:

With all the momentum behind the name recently, t’s easy to think that yoga-wear juggernaut lululemon (LULU) can only head higher, and naysayers are simply peddling sour grapes.

Yet Gap (GPS), which today said it will open the first store for its Athleta brand of women’s active-wear in San Francisco, may change that, according to Wall Street Strategies analyst Brian Sozzi.

“Athleta represents the first credible threat to Lululemon’s yoga apparel market dominance (wide moat business this is not),” Sozzi wrote in a research report. “Athleta’s product offerings are not the mediocre quality women’s athletic garb increasingly sprouting up at Target (TGT) and Kohl’s (KSS). It’s quality product at an attainable price.”

Sozzi also argues that Gap is “hungrier” than lulu, and its aggressive drive to grow earnings and revenue should make Athleta a formidable player in this lucrative market.

Barrons.com has warned investors previously about lulu’s sky-high valuation, as recently as yesterday, when the stock popped on an increased fourth-quarter forecast.  In November, we also wrote bullishly about Gap.

What do you think?  Will Gap’s Athleta finally be the brand to give Lulu a run for its money?

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I haven’t read Claire Dederer’s memoir Poser: My Life in 23 Yoga Poses, just yet.  But it is on my list.  I’ve been following the reviews, though, which have ranged from the positive (The Seattle Times called it “absorbing” calling Dederer’s voice “unusually genuine” and filled with “ubiquitous wit and honesty”) to the downright harsh (Rowan Pelling from The Telegraph declared that reading Poser solidified his New Year’s resolution: never to try yoga!)

Here’s the review from my hometown paper, The Los Angeles Times, written by Judith Lewis Mernit:

“Going to yoga was part of my goodness project,” writes Claire Dederer in her memoir, “Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses.” In the liberal Seattle community where she begins that project, it’s also the thing to do: Doctor, neighbors, even a homeless guy tell her to get on the mat, in part to heal a bad back after having a baby.

But goodness as it turns out is elusive and not terribly interesting for the same reason most books about yoga are unreadable: No one wants to hear about how good you are. We want to hear about how you tried to be good and fell short. And by doing just that, “Poser” achieves something rare: It’s a contemporary book about yoga that doesn’t leave you squirming, suspect or bored.

A significant part of “Poser’s” readability comes from Dederer’s willingness to own up to trivial but self-exposing details — how her belly went soft after two cesareans, how she struggled not to resent her husband’s expansive writing career, how one night she denied her two children a peek at the falling snow because “I didn’t want to deal with their joy.” She frames each testimonial with a yoga pose: She convinced herself she was too weak to do chaturanga, the slow descent from push-up to the floor, just as she had believed her marriage “was too fragile to hold up to the rigors of the truth.” Hanumanasana, or splits, represents Dederer and her family’s return from a two-year sojourn in Boulder, Colo., and the “feeling of energy, and connection, and difficulty and joy as I leaped over mountains toward my old life.”

The yoga analogies aren’t all airtight: There’s something reckless about Dederer having shoehorned a reverie about foehn winds — those hot breezes that rip down mountain slopes — into a chapter named for seated forward bend, which is perhaps the least windy of all yoga’s asanas. But the fact is, foehns are fun to read about, and so is Dederer’s over-examined life: “Poser” is the output of a curious, vivid mind, one that opens every box and asks questions about its contents. Sometimes the answers are confounding. Often they’re maddeningly simple.

I flatter myself that I enjoyed Dederer’s book so thoroughly because we have so much in common — I too had a feminist-influenced mother who defected from married life in the 1970s; I share her suspicion of American yogis who suddenly embrace all things Eastern. I’ve also followed her same rough yoga path — from discovery (when the poses deliver “a dossier of information you’re not sure you really want”) to goal-seeking (I will get this leg behind my head if it kills me!) to the humble acceptance that yoga makes fools of goal-seekers (“The longer I do yoga, the worse I get at it,” Dederer admits. Oh, yes.).

But factually speaking, many other women will locate themselves in Dederer’s words much more precisely than I do, and people who never do yoga will too. The illusion of commiseration here is really just a triumph of truth-telling, of a writer having the courage to confront her limits and sit, uncritically, in the messy present. Like a yoga pose, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be exquisite.

When I initially heard about Dededer’s book, I thought, ugh! This is just the latest edition of gimmicky chick-lit riding the Eat, Pray, Love wave. The arrival of this book officially signals that yoga has  become the vehicle for delivering the latest hackneyed story of self-discovery and near mid-life crises.  While Dederer very well may be riding the EPL wave, I somehow think Dederer seems to have more to offer than Gilbert did…But I’ll save the rest of my thinking and sharing until after I read it.

I’ll let you know what I think.  Anyone out there read it yet?

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Photo courtesy of TIME Magazine

In Tuesday’s edition of The Washington Examiner, journalist Freeman Klopott profiled a new idea floating around at The District’s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services. The idea?  Implementing a “mind-body discipline” program to teach the juvenile offenders.

Apparently, the idea for such a program was the brain child of interim deputy director, Barry Holman.  In a series of e-mails bandied about by Mr. Holman and his staff, Holman asked if any staff members had any “hidden talents that might be tapped to further our work with the young people in our care.”  Holman said his primary interest was in finding among the staff an instructor certified in yoga, tai-chi, or another “mind-body connection discipline.”

The article noted that 2010 was a horrible year for the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services:

The agency is coming off a controversial year during which more than a dozen of its wards were charged with murder and at least a half-dozen were killed.

Not to mention the revolving door that has become the position of deputy director.  For Holman, he still hasn’t found anyone within his agency who meets the criteria:

Holman told The Examiner that he’s received several responses since sending out the Dec. 29 e-mail, but none from anyone who can teach the “mind-body” techniques he described. He said he hoped the e-mail would begin a conversation with staff members to think broadly about programs that “might be of interest to them and the youth.”

“It was an exercise on my part to see what other qualities, besides the professional qualities, that they can bring to the job,” Holman said.

Among the responses he did get: a race car driver who suggested the youth build a race car, musicians and a certified boxing instructor.

The idea wasn’t popular with all government officials, and many in D.C., including councilman Jim Graham, doubt that teaching a “mind-body discipline” is the best approach:

“Anything that would contribute to well-being I am in favor of,” Graham said Tuesday. “But I’m much more concerned about having programs that address alcohol and substance abuse that will help turn these kids’ lives around.”

While the idea is still in its infancy, Holman stated, “We’re always looking at expanding our offerings…The benefits of yoga or tai-chi are no different for youth in a correction facility than for anyone else.”

Any readers out there who currently teach yoga to at-risk or juvenile offenders?  We’d love to hear your stories!

 

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Happy New Year!

Salvador Dali & A Brave Yogini

Have a happy, healthy 2011! May next year, and your yoga practice, be filled with strength, grace, light, balance, and … creativity!

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It’s gift-giving season, and this post is for all you non-yogis out there.  The ones that are heading into the last week before Christmas filled with stress because you still have no gift for your wife/brother/partner/dad/best friend who loves all things yoga.  On the one hand it is a wonderful opportunity to supply him/her with a yoga arsenal – books, props, music, etc. – to support their yogic endeavors.  On the other hand, yoga and all things yoga is like a freaking foreign language to you.  You just don’t know where to begin.

In an effort to help narrow down your options, I have compiled a list of ten things NOT to purchase for your favorite yogi for Christmas.  Here they are, in no particular order:

10. The Inappropriate Neti Pot


You’ve heard your lovely little yogi talking all about wanting a neti pot, a nasal cleansing device which you can learn more about here. While this would make a wonderful and affordable stocking stuffer, be aware there are certain neti pots (like the one pictured above) shaped more like something one might “stuff” elsewhere, if you catch my drift.  So, for the love of all things ho-ho-holy, skip the phallic neti pots and stick with the more traditional version which is made with white ceramic and looks more like a teapot.  Like here.

9. A Stinky Mat

A new yoga mat is a fantastic gift idea.  But, unfortunately, a lot of them smell.  In fact, “smelly yoga mat” yields nearly 300,000 results on google. Yeah, it’s that big of a deal.  All yoga mats have a little bit of a smell, but some are worse than others.  I would suggest a mat made from natural rubber – still has an odor, but it isn’t overwhelming and fades quickly.  Bottom line: put your sniffer to the test this holiday season.

8. Trippy Meditation Glasses

Your daughter has recently started a meditation practice.  You’re not really sure what this means, but back when you were growing up meditation sometimes meant hippies and acid trips. You thought you might encourage a substance-free meditation practice with these neat glasses you saw online.  Stop. Put the credit card away and opt instead for a beautiful meditation pillow or zafu (my friend makes some cool ones here). Not only do these “Trip Glasses” reflect a total misunderstanding of meditation, but they come with the following warning: “Rapidly blinking lights may cause seizures.” Now that’s freaky, man!

7. Geri Haliwell’s Yoga DVD

What the?! Baby Spice has her own yoga DVD!?  Apparently, some time this year Geri Haliwell, the former Spice Girl, came out with a yoga DVD entitled “Geri Yoga”.  According to last week’s edition of the U.K.’s The Daily Mail, “Geri Yoga” was ranked one of the year’s ten worst celebrity fitness DVDs. Skip this one, Bub.

6. Man Yogi Shorts


Can’t figure out what to get your favorite Man Yogi? I know, Man Yogis are notoriously hard to shop for.  In part because there is not a whole lot out there geared specifically to men.  And what is out there can be a little…confusing. I can just imagine you searching for that perfect gift for said Man Yogi, it’s a little late at night, too much web surfing is making you a little nutty (pardon the pun) and you just don’t know what looks good anymore.  What I’m trying to say is…those little speedo-ish yoga shorts you’re contemplating? No. Guys shouldn’t wear sausage casings to a yoga class. Period. Why? Let me set the stage: crowded class + prasarita padottanasana (a.k.a. wide-legged forward fold) = I think you get the idea.

5. Cat Yoga Stuff

I can imagine your dilemma. Your favorite Yogini really loves her cat. She also really loves yoga. Here’s the thing: the two things often collide in very creepy ways. Remember the whole dogs playing poker painting? Kind of like that. So this year, leave the yogi cat thing off of your list of things to get her for Christmas.

4.  Dog Yoga Stuff

You can pretty much apply everything I said above to dog yoga things.  Sorry.

3. Doga Gift Certificate

And for that matter, “doga“.  Your boyfriend’s local yoga studio offers “doga” – partner yoga for people and their…dogs. Skip it, and opt instead for a 10-class package…for people.

2. F*UCK YOGA Flip Flops

Okay, I personally think these flip flops are awesome.  However, some yogis are verrrrrrry serious. And unless your yogi has a wicked sense of humor, take these bad boys off the list.

1. Yoga Snail

I’m not even sure what it is, but its the creepiest thing I’ve seen in years.  Steer clear.

So, yogis, what did I leave off of the list?  What yoga gifts should your loved ones steer clear of?  For that matter, what are you hoping to see under the tree this year? Better comment now, Christmas is right around the corner!

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